Construction and Scotland’s Economy - Call for Views

Scotland’s Construction Sector Inquiry – Call for Views

Background and remit

The Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Energy Fair Work Committee is seeking views on the construction sector in Scotland. The remit of the inquiry is – To understand the characteristics and challenges of Scotland’s construction sector to ensure the sector realises its full potential in contributing to a productive and inclusive Scottish economy. Specific areas of focus will include: economic impact; access to finance; skills; procurement; infrastructure investment; and innovation.

Construction is a wide-ranging sector, where industry outputs vary from minor improvements to major capital projects across the realms of infrastructure, commercial, and residential. The sector is an important driver of the wider economy, due to the impact that construction investment has on other sectors. The sector helps to underpin Scotland’s economy via housing provision, developing transport infrastructure, contributing to the sustainability of the built environment, delivering infrastructure for health services, educational, and community activities across Scotland. Despite its role as a driver of economic activity, the sector is not without its challenges.

Organisationsand individuals are invited to submit written evidence in relation to the priorities set out below. Please note that it is not necessary to respond to every question and you can also provide any other information that you consider relevant.

Priorities for consideration

We plan to focus on the following areas of priority within this inquiry –

  • Economic impact of the construction sector
  • Access to finance
  • Construction skills planning system
  • The construction procurement model
  • Meeting Scotland’s infrastructure needs
  • Driving innovation

The table below provides examples of the types of questions we would like to explore within each priority. It would be helpful if written submissions could address the priority areas, with reference to the questions highlighted in the table where possible.

Economic impact of the sector   How important is the construction sector in Scotland as an economic enabler? If possible, please provide evidence of knock-on multiplier impacts at local, regional and national levels, and explore the impact of the sector on national GDP performance. 
What are the causes of the sector’s productivity challenges? Can you suggest possible solutions? 
How effective is Scotland’s construction supply chain? Explore areas of gaps, duplication, etc. 
What is the future economic outlook and implications of Brexit on the sector?
The UK Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and the linked Sector Deal for construction aim to address issues such as improving procurement practices, skills, exports and innovation. How do these impact on Scotland? 
 Access to finance What are the sources of and barriers to accessing finance in the sector? We would welcome perspectives from all sizes of businesses from micro through to Tier 1.
What are your views on payment terms and payment behaviours across the sector?
How effective is the financial management of large scale infrastructure projects and the mechanisms used e.g. project bank accounts?
 Skills  Does the sector’s skills planning model allow it to realise its full potential, in terms of attracting talent, meeting skill shortages, preparing for technological change?
How does Scotland’s apprenticeship system contribute to the sector? Is it doing enough to meet equality challenges in the sector? 
 Procurement   How do public procurement practices and procedures impact on the sector?
Do you have any suggestions on opportunities to enhance procurement practices across the sector?
 Infrastructure investment   Considering the national infrastructure construction pipeline, is the planned pipeline sufficient? And has the sector got to the ability to meet the country’s infrastructure needs to drive growth?
 Innovation  What are your views on the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre?
Where are the opportunities for growth within sub-sectors, e.g. offsite construction? 
How will technological changes (e.g. robotics, automation) impact on the sector? How can Scotland take advantage of this change?

As already highlighted, your response does not need to cover all of the priority areas specified and can just focus on those that are relevant to you or your organisation. Also, you are welcome to provide other information that you feel would be relevant.

The closing date for receipt of submissions is Wednesday 13 February 2019.

How to submit your views

Before making a submission, please read our privacy notice about submitting your views to a Committee. This tells you about how we process your personal data.

Privacy Notice

Please use the template provided to format your submission. This includes the Data Protection Form. Please complete this form and send it in with your submission.


We would be grateful if you could keep your submission to a maximum of 4 sides of A4. 

We welcome written views in English, Gaelic, Scots or any other language. Due to the time required to process and analyse evidence, late submissions will only be accepted with the agreement of the Committee.

Written responses should be sent electronically, in the template format  to the following address: 

[email protected]

If you cannot submit electronically you may send in a hard copy written submission. If you are sending in a hard copy submission please print off and include a copy of the Data Protection Form.  Please send them to:

Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee
Room T3.40
Scottish Parliament
EH99 1SP

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